There’s only a week left until one of the ugliest events in modern American society. No, it’s not another Republican Election Event during which we’re subjected to hearing Rick Santorum blabber nor is it the return of Luke Wilson to prime-time television. I’m talking about Valentine’s Day, a scourge for those of us single folks and one I’d argue that’s even worse for those who are coupled.
When I think about Valentine’s Day all I hear is that classic Queen song, “Under Pressure,” because if you’re trying to do something for your partner then bone-crushing, breath-sucking tension is probably what you’re feeling. After all, if you can’t properly show your loved one that you care about him or her in a mass-manufactured, properly commercially-determined manner then what sort of lover are you?!?
Valentine’s Day reminds me a lot of New Year’s Eve in that there’s such a ridiculous amount of build-up and anticipation—you should buy a new tie to coordinate with her shoes, you need to call that one restaurant everyone’s talking about, you should book tickets to Denmark to bid on wild orchids at the flower exchange, etc. There’s so much expectation that things will be AMAZING! that, as Madonna recently demonstrated during her Super Bowl performance, it’s impossible to live up to all the hype.
I feel badly for you coupled folks who are right now scrambling to make reservations at restaurants where you’ll indulge in ridiculously overpriced dinners; who are scampering to florists to buy ridiculously overpriced bouquets of roses; who are swamping jewelry stores searching for the properly overpriced carat that will assure both your love and your self that you do in fact care about your partner.
As for us single folks? Often we’re depicted as being surly around Valentine’s Day, and that can be true though not necessarily because we want what you coupleds have. If anything our hackles will be raised because we’ll be soured and wary of watching all you partnered peoples’ disturbingly earnest efforts to try and find the right thing for your other.
The upside for us singles is the snide sense of superiority we’ll feel by actively not-participating in the market stampede that you suckers will be running in. We’ll probably be condescending and supercilious to your efforts. We’ll become Marxists of Romance, if only for the day. And maybe, just maybe, some of us will even feel a sense of rueful envy that we’re alone while you’re not.
All of this to lead to the following: I have come across the perfect gift for those looking to impress their sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. Instead of buying flowers or jewelry or a bottle of champagne, I suggest you go to The Bronx Zoo’s website where, for a measly $10, you can name one of the Zoo’s 58,000 Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches in honor of your beloved.
What better way to sidestep the crass forces of capitalism, support a good cause (both the indomitable roaches and the conservation society that maintains parks in NYC) and demonstrate to your loved one what a unique and creative person you truly can be?? As the Zoo’s site notes, “Flowers wilt. Candlelight fades. Roaches are forever.”
Nothing says, Our love is timeless quite like an animal that will outlive any imaginable catastrophe. If that’s not romantic then I don’t know romance, nor can I explain why I can’t get a date.